Saturday, July 29, 2006

Frito Pie

From a friend. The proper instructions for assembling the perfect Frito pie:

First you get a bowl and put just a little bit of chili on the bottom.
Then you put a layer of Fritos.
Then you put a layer of cheese.
Then add some more chili.
Then top that with more Fritos.
Then put another layer of cheese.

“That way you get delicious melted cheese in every bite.”

Now how could I argue with that?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Got Any Extra Change Lying Around?

If so, the Boca Raton Resort & Club has THE burger for you. With a 5 ½ inch circumference at 2 ½ inches thick, you will be biting in to a tri-beef patty that consists of American Prime, Kobe and Argentinean beef. Forget the normal burger toppings – this sucker is topped with organic greens and exotic mushrooms.

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine was. Until I saw the price tag. With tax and gratuity, this beef on a bun will set you back $124.50. But wait! The luxury resort will graciously donate $10 from each sale to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

While I’m sure the Boca Raton burger is fabulous, I’d rather get a ninety-nine cent bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s, and donate the remaining $123.51 to charity.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

can i make a cheese sauce with sliced american cheese?

Someone landed on my blog with this question in their google search bar. Could you make cheese sauce with sliced American cheese? Maybe. Would you want to? Not in a million years.

Stop searching for an American cheese sauce recipe and instead, get your ass to the store and by some real cheese. The kind that isn’t individually wrapped in preformed, pressed squares. The kind that tastes real. The kind that melts.

Oh my. I don’t have enough time or energy to even explain how my love for cheese was just insulted by this question.

Monday, July 24, 2006

4 Stars for Blue Star

Today I joined the fam for lunch at a relatively new Austin eatery, Blue Star Cafeteria. The décor is very inviting – retro chic, with an assortment of tables, booths and bar dining with a great view of the kitchen. There were fresh flowers on every table and the servers were courteous and prompt.

The food was relatively unique and well presented. We started off with Crispy Artichoke Hearts with an anchovy dipping sauce. Crunchy, delicious and nothing fishy about any of it. The entrees followed. The mom opted for Coconut and Cornflake Chicken Tenderloins and the dad and I opted for the Meatloaf Sandwich.

If you’re having flashbacks to your childhood, last one at the dinner table, looking at a cold piece of tomato sauce covered meatloaf, stuck there until you figure out a way to get it down or feed it to the dog – you can stop right there.

This meatloaf was nothing like that. It came on grilled sourdough and was topped with provolone cheese, garlic mayo and grilled onions. The meat was juicy, flavorful and anything but the kind that you dreaded as a child.

There was no time for dessert, despite the tempting carrot cake that was calling my name from the display case.

Next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.

Not Bad for a Saturday Night

Chicken Flautas with Tomatillo Salsa, Mexican Cream and Queso Fresco

Toasted Pound Cake with Warm Berry Sauce

Friday, July 21, 2006


Margie over at Do You Have Issues? was kind enough to recognize my blog with a Foodie-Blog Award. Check out my review!

Woo hoo! Yeay me!

Click Here to Enter Mix-Pix Blogger Awards Contest at

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweetbread Prep

Classmate: Why is it called sweetbread?
Chef Instructor: Because it’s really hard to sell thymus on a menu.

Yep, you read right. Wednesday night we will be cooking up cow thymus. Tonight we prepped the gland for cooking tomorrow. While my partner was busy doing dishes, I was busy holding down the throw up.

I pulled the thymus out of the blood soaked plastic bag with a pair of tongs and gloved hands. Blood. Everywhere. It resembles brain matter. Pockets of flesh loosely cling to each other to form one big gloppy mess (yes, it’s a technical culinary term). I drop the gland into a pot of boiling, salted lemon water until it is light poached and just starts to turn a shade of white.

Upon removing the thymus from the water, I spent several minutes pulling the sinew (filmy layer of skin) off of the flesh. All the while, holding down the – oh wait – it’s coming up. Stand over the trash can for a minute.

Resume sinew removal.

Once sinew is removed, I wrapped the thymus all up in a piece of cheesecloth and molded it into the shape of salami. Now get ready for the big finish….

I wrung out all of the excess “juice” to create a solid mass of gland. I tied up both ends of the cheese cloth and hung it in the refrigerator to do its thing overnight.

Now, can anyone tell me what’s sweet about that?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Margaritas and Mole

Saturday night I headed to Manuels downtown. I absolutely love Mexican food and EVERYONE tells me the food there is great, so I had to find out for myself.

There was a 45 minute wait, so we planted ourselves at the bar to sample “Austin’s Best Margaritas.” I order a frozen one with salt. It arrived frozen, but sans salt. Ok, I’m not going to hold anything against them yet. I mean, it’s a great atmosphere, nice hardwood floors, great lighting and the governor seated just down the way.

A couple of cocktails later, our table is finally ready. The hostess leads us to a tiny table wedged between toddlers and raging drunks. Um, no thanks. Can we get a different table please? Sure. Another 20 minute wait.

Finally we are seated in an adult friendly location and dive right into the menu. We order Chile con Queso as the appetizer. I couldn’t wait to dunk my chips into some creamy, melted cheese. The starter arrived, and much to my surprise it was more like Queso Flameado than anything resembling melted cheese. Not to worry though - cheese is cheese and I devoured every delicious bite.

Entrees soon followed. I had Enchiladas de Mole which Wine Spectator touts as the “Best Mole in Austin”. I’ve had lots of mole in my day – both homemade and restaurant made. I was really disappointed. They garnished the dish with sesame seeds which completely overpowered the other delicate flavors of the sauce.

The waiter stopped by our table twice – once to take our order and once to drop off the bill. His tip reflected the caliber of service accordingly.

I’m sure there is market for this type of restaurant in Austin. But I like to keep it real. Give me a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant where the people barely speak English, the salsa is spicy and the cheese drips off my chips, and I’ll be a happy, happy chica.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

100 Things About Me: 61-80

61. You can never use too much garlic. I put it in almost everything, except brownies.
62. In school, most people think I’m a nerd. I’m never afraid to lobby for a better grade.
63. I am addicted to DVR. It is the best invention ever.
64. I have an anti-green thumb. I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life.
65. In elementary school, I wore Jams and leggings and hair bows. Oh my.
66. When I was younger, I used to make crafts for all of my Christmas gifts. I wish I still had the time to do that.
67. One of my favorite songs is “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” by Joan Jett. I used to have it on a 45. Every time it comes on the radio, I’m instantly in a good mood.
68. I dig power tools. Especially my electric screwdriver.
69. I dig other power tools too. But mostly, this is a G-rated blog.
70. I know how to fold napkins into fancy shapes, like swans. My grandmother gave me a napkin folding book when I was young, and I actually used it.
71. Whenever I watch scary movies, I close my eyes and plug my ears during the jump-out-and-scare-you parts.
72. I used to be a HUGE Tom Cruise fan. After his Oprah couch jumping incident, he has been erased from existence.
73. I can’t stand Gatorade. It burns the back of my throat.
74. I love to eat whipped cream – straight out of the can.
75. I like fancy restaurants with froufrou food.
76. I’ve only been in a limo twice. Once for my best friend’s 16th birthday and then again on my wedding night.
77. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue – quickly.
78. I love to eat raw cookie dough.
79. I hate to vacuum.
80. I’ve visited cities in 13 US states.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Eating Good, Damn Good

Hanger Steak with Roasted Shallot Sauce and Pomme Frites
London Broil with Mushroom Sauce and Stuffed, Broiled Tomato*
Pepper Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce, Broccoli Raab and Potatoes Daphinoise
NY Strip with Béarnaise Sauce, Watercress Salad and Sautéed Squash with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil
Veal Chop, Potato Gnocchi and Sautéed Wild Mushrooms

Is your mouth watering yet? Or are you still trying to figure out what the fuck any of this stuff is?

In either case, these were the 5 dishes that we prepared in class over the last 2 days.

*I hate tomatoes and even tough I got a near perfect score on this dish, it was purely luck. If I had to taste the crap before serving it, I surely would have hurled.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Alcohol and Machinery

While making my nightly Vodka and Diet Coke, I happened upon the alcohol warning label. I’ve inadvertently read this thing a million times, but tonight a thought occurred to me.

Warning Reads:

“Alcohol may impair your ability to drive a car or operate heavy machinery.”

I got to thinking - what exactly classifies heavy machinery? Some research turned up a few examples: tractor, forklift, bulldozer.

For grins, I looked into light machinery too. Examples include – lawn mower, leaf blower, electric hedge trimmer.

Now shouldn’t we be warning people about light machinery too? I mean, would you want a crazy drunk running around your next family picnic with a weed wacker?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Aqua “What’s So Great?” Relle

Last night my family gathered at Aquarelle to celebrate my sister R’s 20th birthday.

Finally! We are both 20 somethings – mind you only for a short, short while since I’m regretfully counting the days until age 30. Nevertheless, I am happy that I no longer have to say I have a teenage sister, and I think she’s equally as happy that she’s only 1 year away from legal drinking.

Everyone in Austin thinks Aquarelle is the rage. Apparently people give their first born to either work there or get a prime time reservation. Given my affinity for food and R’s new passion for vegetarian food, it seemed like a stellar restaurant pick.

Let me break it down for you:

Parking – Park across the street, catty corner to blah and blah, or risk towing.
Walk from Parking – Parking is far enough away that you break a sweat trucking to the restaurant, only to find out that you are in the wrong lot. Go re-park. Sweat again hustling to the restaurant.
No AC – The restaurant is in an old house. Apparently old houses can’t be renovated with modern central air. Sweat another 2 gallons while waiting for the menus. Drench pants so that when you stand, part of them actually stick to the chair.
French Service – Waiters are rude, pretentious, and SLOW.
Food – Salmon, ordered medium, arrives burned and tough. Overall, everything else is mediocre – at best.
Bill – After two and a half hours of sweating, rude service and a roach sighting, we are ready to leave. Credit card machine breaks. Another 20 minute delay.
June bugs – Retreating from the restaurant through the un-groomed foliage, R’s man has a june bug encounter – under his shirt, down his back.

Ok, so the june bugs weren’t Aquarelle’s fault, but everything else might have been. On a scale of 1 to 10, my sister and I give it a combined 5. Please don’t send me hate mail if you love this restaurant. Because I might have to tell you about the rat sighting too.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Evaluation Humor

I had to laugh the other day as I was filling out class evaluations. This is an actual question from the eval:

The instructor maintained control over the class.

Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree
No Comment

Shouldn’t we be focusing on things like learning objectives were met, instructor was available during office hours and tests were graded fairly and accurately?

To me, this question speaks volumes to the caliber of students and the problems that plague administers. Sad, sad, sad.